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OP0095-HPR Men Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis – a Qualitative Study
  1. B.A. Esbensen1,2,
  2. K.V. Jensen1,
  3. C.B. Jacobsen1
  1. 1Glostrup Hospital, Centre for Rheumatology and Spine Diseases & Research Unit, Glostrup
  2. 2University of Copenhagen, Department of Clinical Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark


Background The prevalence for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is 0,5 - 1,0% [1], rises with age and occurs more frequently in women with the ratio 3: 1 [2]. It is probably the reason why research has been focusing on women and knowledge about men is scarce. RA is strongly associated with patients experiences of physical, emotional, and social restrictions and quality of life is poor compared to the general population [3]. What is missing from the literature is how men with RA perceive, interpret and understand to live with a chronic illness.

Objectives The aim of this study was to to develop an understanding of how men live with RA and their coping strategies to live with a chronic disease like RA.

Methods A qualitative interview study was conducted based on individual semi-structured interviews. A purposive sample of 17 men with RA, (average age 58 (range 33-70)), diagnosed with RA on average 15 years previously (min. 5, max 34 years) were recruited from the rheumatology outpatient department, Glostrup Hospital. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to understand men's experiences living with RA. The recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim, and analysed using Interpretive Description as described by Thorne [4] and by use of the Nvivo software. An interpretive description of the men's experiences was established.

Results The analysis revealed that men with RA are affected in several dimensions of their every daily life. Seven categories influencing men with RA were extracted: (1) Frame time of diagnosis, (2) Loss of bodily capacity, (3) Adapting to life with medicine, (4) Connecting to job situation, (5) Health literacy, (6) To navigate as a social individual and (7) The challenged to masculine rationality.

Conclusions Study participants from a wide range of age and disease duration described their experience of living with RA as being related to essential issues about masculinity, social network and strategies to handle consequences of RA in everyday life. These findings demonstrate that RA has an impact on how men define themselves as partner and their masculine identity. Physical activity was highlighted as an important part of being a man. Knowledge from this study will be used in the planning of our subsequent intervention study targeted men with RA.


  1. Scott, D.L., F. Wolfe, and T.W.J. Huizinga, Rheumatoid arthritis. The Lancet, 2010. 376(9746): p. 1094-1108.

  2. Alamanos, Y. and A.A. Drosos, Epidemiology of adult rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmun Rev, 2005. 4(3): p. 130-6.

  3. Ovayolu, N., O. Ovayolu, and G. Karadag, Health-related quality of life in ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis: a comparison with a selected sample of healthy individuals. Clin Rheumatol, 2011. 30(5): p. 655-64.

  4. Thorne, S., Interpretive Description 2008, Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

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